Emily joined our team in October as our new Education & Outreach Assistant. We're so thrilled to have her with us - get to know her a little bit and see why!
I have held jobs that I loved, and a couple that I hated. I didn’t last long at the ones I hated, because I believe life is too short to choose misery five days a week. The environments at the hated jobs had something in common: a culture that did not allow me to be who I am, that felt stifling and brought out my most insecure self. This isn’t to say that there weren’t faults on my end as well, particularly at the first job (I was very young and made mistakes) but I have no regrets about either one because each taught me something very important: how to recognize a culture at work in which I know I can thrive. I believe I have found that here in the Education Department at WFSU.
From the warmth and friendliness with which I have been treated from my interviews to the present day, the informal chatting and laughter among colleagues that so often lightens a long day’s work, and the sincerity and respect with which employees treat each other here, I count myself fortunate indeed to call WFSU my new employer.
As for what we have been up to since my first day—that has been an equally positive and affirming experience. I so enjoyed my first ELC Early Educator Workshop, during which I got to know a lovely group of educators that often comes to these events, learning early childhood-appropriate arts and crafts activities and best practices to take back with them to their classrooms. I may not be the most gifted of artists, but I do love speaking with educators and hearing their stories and, knowing how hard they work each day for their students, it was my privilege to help put together an evening for them that was, hopefully, both useful and fun.
My second event was a Family Creative Learning Workshop at Sealey Elementary School. I was seriously impressed with the scope and depth of this workshop—the various materials used, the inclusion of media, literacy, and collaborative learning—all in one lesson! And as an educator, I rarely get to see children learning alongside their families, and that was a special experience indeed. From a patient dad modeling an outfit that included layers of plastic sheets and a hood (rather warm!) designed by his family and meant to withstand harsh weather, to parents channeling their inner child while playing a silly warm-up game with Felisha, the Teaching Artist who led the workshop (and laughing so much their children kept looking over wonderingly in their direction) it was an evening I will not soon forget. Driving home, I felt excited and grateful to be a part of a team that puts together workshops for young people and their families in some of Tallahassee’s most vulnerable communities that are not only purposeful and well-executed, but truly enjoyable for those ages 2 through 92!
My background is in youth-focused nonprofit work, and after getting my Masters in Theatre Education at Emerson College in Boston, I worked for two years at Cleveland Play House in their Education Department. There, I learned a great deal about arts integration in the classroom and its importance before moving here to Tallahassee to begin my Masters in Arts Administration at FSU. I am originally a New Yorker, and went to college and spent time in New England and Ohio, so Florida living has been an adjustment! But it is the kindness of the people, such as my new coworkers, that convinces me I can find a home here, and certainly a purpose in this new position. I cannot wait for the adventures to come.